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25% of US car accidents due to using gadgets | KurzweilAI - 0 views

    Driving distractions such as cell phones and other electronic devices cause as much as 25% of all U.S. car accidents, researchers at the Governors Highway Safety Association have found, WinBETA notes.

    A major finding was that being distracted was the cause of 15 to 25% of all accidents, ranging from minor property damage to death.

    Their findings suggest that distracted driving accidents be reported in accident reports to assist in evaluating distracted driving laws and programs. They propose creating low-cost roadway measures that alert motorists when they are drifting out of their driving lane.

    They also propose that all cell phones be banned on the road, even hands-free versions.

    In another report by The New York Times, police in Syracuse and Hartford have handed out nearly 20,000 tickets for illegal use of a phone while driving - either for texting or use of a handheld phone.

    According to the federal government, these efforts have had the desired effect: distracted driving has fallen sharply. Their research shows that drivers talking on a phone are four times as likely to get into a crash as those not on a phone, and that the risks for motorists who text are at least twice as high. In Syracuse, handheld cellphone use and texting have each fallen by one-third. In Hartford, handheld cellphone use by drivers fell 57 percent while texting fell by 75 percent, the Times reports.

    Ref.: Vicki Harper. et al., Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, GHSA, 2011
thinkahol *

US approves world's biggest solar energy project in California | KurzweilAI - 0 views

    The U.S. Department of Interior approved on Monday a permit for Solar Millennium, LLC to build the largest solar energy project in the world - four  plants at the cost of one billion dollars each - in southern California.

    The project is expected to generate up to 1,000 Megawatts of energy, enough electricity to annually power more than 300,000 single-family homes, more than doubling the solar electricity production capacity of the U.S.

    Once constructed, the Blythe facility will reduce CO2 emissions by nearly one million short tons per year, or the equivalent of removing more than 145,000 cars from the road. Additionally, because the facility is "dry-cooled," it will use 90 percent less water than a traditional "wet-cooled" solar facility of this size. The Blythe facility will also help California take a major step toward achieving its goal of having one third of the state's power come from renewable sources by the year 2020.

    The entire Blythe Solar Power Project will generate a total of more than 7,500 jobs, including 1,000 direct jobs during the construction period, and thousands of additional indirect jobs in the community and throughout the supply chain. When the 1,000 MW facility is fully operational it will create more than 220 permanent jobs.

    Adapted from materials provided by Solar Millennium, LLC.
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